02.02.2019
First Team

Wolfsburg win in Berlin

Wout Weghorst's second-half goal gave VfL Wolfsburg a 1-0 win away to Hertha Berlin on Bundesliga Matchday 20.

After a nip-and-tuck first half in which both teams hit the bar – VfL through Jérôme Roussillon and Hertha through Karim Rekik – the home side started the second period on the front foot. Hertha were stunned by a slick VfL attack in the 65th minute, though, with Weghorst poking past Rune Jarstein following excellent play from Elvis Rexhbecaj and Roussillon. Thanks to some fine saves from Koen Casteels, Bruno Labbadia's side held on in the closing stages to record their first Bundesliga win of 2019. Next up is a trip to RB Leipzig in the DFB Cup last 16 on Wednesday (kick-off 18:30 CET).

Malli and Verhaegh recalled

VfL head coach Labbadia opted for two changes to the side that lost to Bayer Leverkusen last weekend. Yunus Malli, making his first start of the calendar year, and Paul Verhaegh replaced Admir Mehmedi and William; the hosts were unchanged.

Wolves shade tight first period

After a quiet start, with both sides enjoying probing spells of possession, the first chance fell the way of Wolfsburg in the 18th minute. Following a brilliant counter-attack, Roussillon went one-on-one with Jarstein but after the Frenchman's first shot was saved, the Hertha keeper pushed the rebound onto the bar. The Berliners responded in kind, Rekik heading onto the top of the bar from a narrow angle five minutes later, but the visitors retained a threat on the break. Indeed, Labbadia's troops fashioned the better chances – usually from the wide areas – prior to the interval, but Renato Steffen twice shot wide and Malli fired straight at Jarstein.

Weghorst with the winner

The hosts came out of the blocks faster at the start of the second period, and Verhaegh had to be well positioned to stop Vedad Ibisevic going clean through. The Dutchman almost created a chance for Weghorst in the 62nd minute, but three minutes later – and just after Casteels had saved from Arne Maier – the Wolves scored the opener from the opposite flank. Rexhbecaj slipped a fine pass through for Roussillon, whose low cross was diverted expertly into the net by Weghorst. Labbadia's troops carved out several chances on the break thereafter, but that one goal – allied to a resolute defensive effort and a brilliant save from Casteels to deny Marko Grujic – proved enough for three points.

Hertha Berlin: Jarstein – Rekik, Lustenberger, Stark – Lazaro, Maier (Darida 71'), Grujic, Plattenhardt (Mittelstädt 67') – Duda, Selke, Ibisevic (Kalou 67')

VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Verhaegh, Brooks, Knoche, Roussillon – Arnold, Gerhardt, Rexhbecaj (Uduokhai 90') – Malli (William 86'), Weghorst, Steffen (Brekalo 66')

Goals: Weghorst (66')

Yellow cards: Lazaro, Darida, Selke / Steffen

Attendance: 39,259

Referee: Bastian Dankert (Rostock)

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